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Volunteer Spotlight: Grace Hu-Skrzenta

Posted on October 22, 2022

When you speak with anyone at FortWhyte Alive you will often hear them say the same thing – “We have the best volunteers“.

Every special moment, every memory made, every connection formed in nature is made possible thanks to our volunteers who share their time and passion with us each day.

Volunteers like Grace, who in her short time has become a treasured member of the FortWhyte community. Grace strives to share her love of nature and the community with those around her, all while raising her daughter to do the same.

Grace and her daughter sit on bench.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Grace Hu-Skrzenta, 36 years old. I am a biologist, and currently working as a Food Safety Specialist. I have been volunteering with FortWhyte Alive since May 2022.

 

2. How did you hear about volunteering with FortWhyte Alive and what made you want to start?

I have been visiting FortWhyte Alive frequently with my husband since we moved to Winnipeg. It has always been our little “nature escape” from our busy student life and work. Everytime we visit FortWhyte, we chat with friendly and helpful staff and volunteers, who we remember and appreciate the most. “I wish I could work here after graduation, especially with these people and nature!” I thought.

Time goes by quickly, FortWhyte has become my daughter’s favorite wild escape since she started walking. With countless memorable moments and valuable experience FortWhyte has given us throughout the seasons, I sincerely and genuinely want to give back to this community by sharing my passion and knowledge about nature, and by providing my effort and time to programs and people in FortWhyte.

Most importantly, I want to show my daughter that everyone can give, and it doesn't matter how young or how old someone is, and it is not how much someone gives, but how much love and passion someone dedicates into giving.

It takes a community to show an example of being kind, generous, helpful, and trustworthy, most importantly, the positive energy of learning and appreciating nature and humans as one. We find our community in FortWhyte Alive.

As a biologist, I am happy to share my passion and knowledge with FortWhyte, and I am grateful for continuous learning about nature from staff and volunteers through various training and programs.

As a parent, I am honored and lucky to be able to share my belief and love of giving with my daughter, by either working with her hand-in-hand or telling her my volunteering stories. I believe I have planted a nature-loving seed in her, and cultivated a passion of giving in her.

Grace stands next to her daughter who is on a large rock.

3. What has been your favorite part of volunteering at FortWhyte?

I appreciate the time I work together with other volunteers for either a detailed project or a more casual task. The experience shared by other volunteers always motivates me to do more and give more.

The positive energy circulating within the community makes me happy whenever I start my shift.

The enormous help from staff makes me feel supported and looked after. The friendly smile and “thank you” from our visitors is always the highlight for my volunteering.

4. Has volunteering had a positive impact in any other areas of your life?

Volunteering makes me a happy and humble person. It embraces me with a big heart and acceptance. It provides me opportunities to learn new skills, such as being a group leader, giving guidance to different age groups, taking care of animals and their habitats, assisting farm operations which I might have never been able to experience in my life if not for volunteering.

Because of volunteering, I have made lots of new friends who share the same passion for nature. I look forward to seeing them and listening to their stories in life and with Fortwhyte. It makes my heart sing.

Volunteering makes me a gentle and generous person. It helps me look at things from a big picture. It makes me believe every little effort counts, and with a genuine heart, we can achieve as a community. This perspective of living and giving has a huge impact in my life, my work, and raising a family.

Grace holds out seeds for er daughter to blow on.

5. What would you tell someone who is interested in volunteering at FortWhyte?

Come and chat with us, you are very welcomed and needed.

Thank you Grace for being part of our community, thank you for making magic happen.

Volunteers are the heart of FortWhyte Alive. If you’re looking to get involved you can learn more about volunteering at: fortwhyte.org/support/volunteer/